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This is a guest post by Blaine Kelton. When Blaine isn’t writing about music and technology, he’s usually cozying up with his collection of vinyl and old-school video games.

With the high-profile launch of Beats Music this past January, the question that’s been weighing on my mind is the following: How much are these companies making? How exactly are they making their money? And is their room for yet another competitor? While the answer for the first question is damn near impossible to find, the second really depends on the service you’re using. For the most part, they’re all boosting their revenue—if they have any—by servicing ads on their platforms and offering paid subscriptions. But that third question? Well, it looks like Samsung just answered. Last Friday, the Korean corporation officially threw its hat back into the ring with Milk Music.

For those unfamiliar with Samsung’s past in this marketplace, they launched a service called Music Hub back in 2012 that served two purposes. Music fans could stream music for a fee of $9.99/month and they could purchase tracks within the application’s store. As far as Milk Music goes, it’s essentially a complete overhaul of Music Hub, though listeners won’t be able to buy any music they’re enjoying—yet. The goal is to upgrade the app down the line to include that capability, and the same goes for that free price tag that comes with it. For now, you can snag the app in the Google Play store on the house and listen to whatever you like for free, too. Right now, there are around 13 million tracks available and more than 200 stations, the latter of which is increased by adding your own personalized stations.

Here are a couple of catches though: First off, It’s extremely likely that Samsung will bring in some sort of tiered-payment system—like its competitors Spotify and Pandora—as a means of, you know, actually making some money off this program. How exactly they’ll do that remains to be seen, because those two aforementioned streaming overlords still have free options for those who refuse to pay. Secondly, and this is a big one, Milk Music is only available for Galaxy users. So if you don’t have one of the following, you can’t use it until Samsung opens it up to other platforms: Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Mini, and the Galaxy S5. The last of those is supposed to be released on April 11, though it’s not clear if that date will hold. For instance, Verizon Wireless notes that the S5 is only “coming soon” and “almost here.” Given the non-confirmed date and the recent Samsung factory fire, which was reported by Digital Trends, who knows when this phone will be released. Hopefully, for the company’s sake and the sake of those Samsung diehards out there, it won’t be impacted.

For now, everyone not equipped to download and test out Milk Music has several options. One: They can read up on the service and judge it based on that speculation alone. Two: They can find a friend with a Galaxy and see if he/she will allow for some music app experimentation. Three: You can just hold out and wait for the inevitable release to other markets. Chances are it won’t make its way to the Apple side for awhile—if at all—so don’t hold your breath, iPhone lovers. Personally, I’ve been able to use it for a few hours so far and, honestly, it’s pretty impressive. Switching from one genre to the next on the radio dial-esque dashboard is rather intuitive, and it actually gave me some solid recommendations. Clearly there are a few bugs to be worked out and I also need to spend more time with it, but Samsung could have a winner on its hands if Milk Music receives the push it needs (and deserves).

This past Valentine’s day left me with a challenge.
Forget the usual flowers and chocolate, I was tasked with finding the “perfect” gift for my bride on Valentines day.

Early in the week she surprised me with one of the best gifts I had ever received:
a leather sitting couch.
This was the perfect addition to my sitting room and will be filled with hours of sitting and reading.

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My wife had done an amazing job of getting me the perfect gift for Valentine’s day.
Now I had to step up my game.

We originally set a $30 spending limit for VDay, but I was thinking I might have to break that limit due to the restraints of quality verse price. I searched online for something unique, amazing, and affordable. I knew my wife loved receiving hand made cards and notes, she loved clothes, and she loved shiny things. But I wanted to do something unique, I decided I was going to make something this year.

As I searched online for inspiration, I came across a print that said “Home is wherever I am with you.” Perfect! This is a great print taken from a great song, and it was in my price limit. But instead of purchasing this print, I decided I was gonna make it myself.

As I started to lay out the print, I started to hum songs in my head. This went on for a bit as I worked on this “special” print for VDay. After about 15 minutes of humming the song in my head I realized it was a song from our wedding that we used during the service. And then the idea hit me, what if I took the song that was in our wedding and turn it in to a print? I had my idea for the perfect Valentine’s day gift. I started to lay out the poster when I thought about the other songs at our wedding. I knew that I had to include them all. I was on my way to having a set of four prints that had never been made. I was excited to start this project.

The four songs chosen: All I Want Is You, A Thousand Years, Turning Pages, and Your Love Is All Around (listen to them here).

Each song had special meaning to our wedding service:
A Thousand Years-wedding party walking-in.
Turning Pages-Bride walk in song.
Your Love Is All Around-Communion Song.
All I Want Is Your-Our First Dance.

I wanted to highlight each in a special way.
The design process was underway. Wanting to tie them in all together to have the option of being displayed all in one, or to provide the option to have them displayed individually, I used a bar at the bottom of each design to give the prints a set of cohesiveness. Also, wanting these prints to last more than a year or two, I tried not to focus too much on our wedding pictures, and instead let the picture sit in the background, providing a subtle hint to each image.

After spending several hours going over type, color, and layout, here is what I came up with.

alliwant-KR thousandyears-KR turningpages yourlove-KR

I was very pleased with how these turned out.
And I think my wife loved them as well.

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Here are three artist/bands that you need to be listening to right now.

Gary Clark Jr

garyclark

This music is best described as blues music that makes you feel good.
From the pureness of his voice to the amazing tone of his guitar, Gary Clark Jr is an artist you should be listening to right now.

The Head and the Heart
theheadandthehaert

Can we take another guy/girl duo? Yes, yes we can.
The Head and the Heart do not disappoint on their back and forth lyrical singing or catchy songs. Want to be hooked immediately, listen to their single “Shake” and you will not want to stop.

Trent Dabbs

TrentDabbs

A story-teller to his core, Trent Dabbs takes folk-pop styles and adds in Johnny Cash sound infused with old gospel-choir tones to bring together a worthy album of your ears. Trent Dabbs is a refreshing sound that we all need to hear.

Listen to the entire playlist here: